18 comments on “Atheism and Me.

  1. My opinions are very similar to yours, and you’ve stated the “rational atheist” position much more clearly than I ever could have. Well done, Gary!

  2. I’ve been in a life long battle with this subject. I’m still in limbo. I don’t think a book written by man is something I can believe in, but other things that have happened in life still have me hanging on to a belief in a greater something.

    But the ghost thing, I never wanted to believe. I have a fear of the unknown. LOL! But after moving in to my old homestead. It is a subject I can no longer avoid or pretend something is up. Spend a week or so at my house, you just might change your mind. 🙂
    Take Care.

  3. Only 5% of people in the US admit to being atheists. It’s not easy to talk about, and much as I love these kind of point by point arguments, (Dawkins, Dennet et al) I don’t think they convince anyone outside that 5%. Those who believe in a particular conception of God have “faith” that defies rationalism, for better or for worse. They just feel that there is a God, it’s hard to argue with how somebody “feels.”

    Sometimes I like to argue that I believe in ALL religions whether Christian, Hindu, Ancient Greek, Euro-Pagan, Buddhist, or even the pantheon in the Sandman comic books. I figure in-so-far that one is true, they ALL must be true, as contradictory and absurd as that sounds.

    Call it an Omnitheist.

    That usually threatens people a lot less than telling them I’m a scientific atheist, and they are less likely to find me arrogant, condescending, or annoying.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    Good post Gary!

    – Sean


  4. Carrie: Such subjects can often be difficult to express clearly. Thanks for letting me know I succeeded!

    Hayley: Excellent! I’ll pop along and read it in a sec.

    leapsecond: It seems our views on Hitchens coincide. I admire his work on religion — especially his debates — but, yes, on everything else I quite often find myself disagreeing with him. Which isn’t a bad thing. At least he makes me think and question.

    I haven’t actually seen that particular lecture, so thanks for bringing it to my attention. I look forward to watching it in full!

    Lottie: It was very enjoyable — you’ll have a great time with it, I’m sure 😉

    thebeadden: I can understand your “battle”. I have always had a sense of wonder which could have easily manifested itself as a belief in “a greater something”. It’s difficult, at times, to look at the beauty and complexity of nature, for example, without attributing it to something beyond our realm of knowledge. For me, however, that wonder merely drove me to try to understand the mechanisms behind nature etc — natural selection and so forth. Discovering such facts underpinned my lack of belief — but it also underpinned my sense of wonder. It didn’t destroy it, as some people erroneously believe it does.

    LOL. I said I don’t believe in ghosts, but that doesn’t mean I’m not afraid of them! 😀 Seriously, I don’t believe in ghosts — but I do believe that there are some extremely strange phenomena out there (or in your case, in there!) that we haven’t yet explained. It is still a fascinating subject… and, yes, the horror film-loving eleven-year-old in me still gets goosebumps when he starts thinking about haunted houses etc.

    You take care and good luck with the battle!

    Sean: That 5% figure has bothered me for a while. As you point out, these are the people who “admit” to being atheists — which makes me feel that the actual percentage is rather higher. And it is for this very reason that I tend to think that Dawkins, Hitchens, Dennett et al do actually have quite an important role to play. I’ve never really seen what they do as proselytising; I think their real work is to give closet atheists the courage and confidence to come out and speak up — to generally say enough is enough (sorry, I’m getting a little karaoke now!) For me, the experience of Hitchens (and Eddie Izzard, on a recent tour during which he talks about his atheism) in the Bible Belt pretty much sums it up; atheists were turning up believing that they’d be “the only atheist in the village”, only to find quite the opposite!

    Yes, if I believed in one religion I’d also have to believe in them all. If I admit one aspect of the supernatural it seems only logical to me that I have to admit all aspects. I think I’ll just stick with being arrogant, condescending and annoying, though! 😉 I’m far better at that LOL.

    Glad you enjoyed it, mate.

  5. Hi Gary:
    I get Google alerts on Atheism and I just dropped in to say that you seem to have had the same experience growing up as I did. No pushy parents and church
    attendance for marriages and funerals.

    I have to laugh when I hear theists claim that there is no morality with out “the BIG MAN”. I’m 74 years old. a devout atheist and have never been in jail, I have never tripped old people with canes, in fact I was a cop for 30 years in good standing. I believe that a GOOD cop does more for humanity than any religion could because they actually help people. Some are helped into jail and others are helped because they are safe from the people who are placed in jail. Unfortunately these people usually don’t learn from their jail time. I saw a survey once that stated more religious people go to jail than atheists. I actually believe this could be true.

    Anyway I enjoyed your site, keep at ‘er
    we have to win this one.

  6. Aspentroll: Yes, I’m familiar with that survey and I have no reason to disbelieve it. If memory serves me well, Dawkins cites it.

    And I agree wholeheartedly that where morality is concerned — where everything is concerned, in fact! — there is simply no need of religion. There are perfectly good reasons to be moral, reasons that, for me, boil down to one simple phrase: “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.” Cooperation, in other words. The majority of us do the right thing because it is in our own self-interest, and the interest of those we love, to so do. By and large we all know that we work better when we work together. It’s that principle that holds communities, cultures and countries together, not a list of commandments.

    Thank you for your comment — I really appreciate your taking the time. Keep dropping by and feel free to comment whenever you wish.

    All the best.

  7. Pingback: Tagged by Gary « The Odd Blog

  8. Pingback: My Atheism « Rambling On

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